‘How many will be there, Charlie?’ Mari asked.
‘A good mix of men and women no doubt,’ I replied.
‘Oh great, I much prefer lots of people, it makes for better value. ‘I’ll see if I can make it.’ Came the reply.
Contrary to the claims of the paid-for member-driven organisations … networking is not about how many cards you collect, followers gained, or even, who ‘likes’ you.
Results come from authenticity, how we engage and deliver the message.
The reality is, most people attending events spend time with only a small number of people. These usually are the contacts they already know and feel comfortable with. Know why? Because the most important buying decisions come from multiple meetings.
Multiple meetings. Yet, networking is not a numbers game.
My focus has always been on the business of building relationships. The process is affinity, association.
So, unless I’m lucky enough to be invited along as a key speaker(!) I see no real point in ‘being the butterfly,’ from one to another, attempting to inform a delegation, en masse.
Who wants to be known as the frantic networker?
Those in a hurry (though perhaps not frantic) may be like Mari. HR is her business and it’s all about hitting targets. She is accountable to the corporation for results and, being hungry, Mari works hard.
Yes, it’s true that we create our own luck … we can find new business by turning up and simply ‘bumping into’ our next client. Someone new, who may be looking for specifically whatever it is you offer. This is how Mari, and many in the field of sales see networking.
If you don’t do, you don’t …
The opportunity that is networking, the anticipated ‘full room’ creates expectancy, even excitement, joy! Although, it can also be disappointing if the sole purpose of being there is for the new business alone. Hence we don’t find many ‘purely salespeople’ visiting the Weekly Business.
My advice to anyone heading along to a networking event … of any kind, whatever size? Spend time and expect nothing more in return other than an exchange in conversation.
Prepare your ‘story,’ listen and be ready to declare what you may be looking for. People love to help others, even more so if they see that you are comfortable in your own shoes …